Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a session on the campus of UT-Dallas presented by David Walker, CPA, former U.S. Comptroller General and currently CEO of the Comeback America Initiative (CAI). This program was part of the $10 Million a Minute Bus Tour that CAI is now conducting in more than 20 cities around the U.S. leading up to the November election.
$10 Million a Minute is the velocity at which our federal financial sinkhole is now growing. With current outstanding public debt already logging in at over $16 trillion, at this pace of $10 Million a Minute, we are about to blow our economic engine. Or go off the “fiscal cliff” in the vocabulary of the day.
That was the central message of Walker’s 60-minute presentation (during which the sinkhole grew more than another half billion). But he also walked attendees through a series of issues, including the debt, federal spending, growth of government, health care and Social Security. And he didn’t just talk about the problems we are facing; he also proposed solutions. What a novel idea!
CAI is non-partisan and Walker certainly took both political parties to task for the problems we are currently facing. He noted that federal spending has grown regardless of what party is in control of the Congress. You can find a lot of interesting information on our federal financial problems by going to the CAI website.
Most attendees couldn’t help but notice when the famous Ross Perot entered the auditorium for Walker’s presentation. And Walker acknowledged Perot for the work he did 20 years ago to raise public awareness of the country’s fiscal problems. But that now seems like a lifetime ago. In 1992, Perot explained it all with simple cardboard charts, as PowerPoint was just in its infancy. And the scope of the problem back then – $4 trillion in debt and an annual deficit of $290 billion, now pales in comparison to a debt of over $16 trillion and annual deficits topping $1 trillion for the last four years.
Since 1992, federal revenue has grown at a compounded rate of slightly more than 4 percent a year. The problem is that during this same time federal spending, which was already higher than revenues in 1992, has grown at a compounded rate of more than 5 percent a year. Is it any wonder we are in a deeper financial hole?
In his presentation, Walker debunked the four popular myths related to our current financial crisis. They are that we can grow, inflate, tax or cut our way out of it. He stated what should be obvious, which is the simple truth that none of these will work by themselves and that all of them will play a role in restoring fiscal sanity to our country.
According to Walker, the missing ingredient we sorely need right now is leadership in Washington. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s hope we start to see some after the November election.